Bilkent University’s Horizon Europe Project National Event took place on March 8 at the Bilkent Hotel and Conference Center with international participation. The “CULTURATI – Customized Games and Routes for Cultural Heritage and Arts” project, coordinated by the Department of Tourism and Hotel Management, is funded by the European Union. The event was held to introduce the project and attracted more than 100 participants.
Among the participants were H. E. Ari Mäki, Finnish Ambassador, and Ms. Maria Luisa Scolari, Cultural Attaché of Italy. Rector Kürşat Aydoğan, Turan Yılmaz, Deputy Governor of Ankara, and Prof. Hasan Mandal, President of TÜBİTAK, made the opening speeches.
Coordinated by Bilkent University, the project has a budget of 3.1 million Euros and involves 14 partners. The interdisciplinary consortium consists of computer scientists, Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs), academia from various disciplines (including social sciences, SMEs and public authorities) and nonprofit community initiatives from Turkey, Germany, Finland, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom.
In his opening remarks, Prof. Aydoğan stressed the importance of the project and stated that it is the first multipartner project coordinated by a Turkish organization in the Horizon Europe – Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society Cluster. The CULTURATI project, a Research, Innovation & Action project, will bring solutions (with the help of its technologies) to the problems of Cultural and Creative Industries. With the tourism industry, these are among the industries most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ankara Deputy Governor Turan Yılmaz emphasized that the cultural industry produces accessible and user-friendly platforms through digital vehicles and noted the development of innovative technologies. He has promised that CULTURATI will be of substantial added value to the cultural and tourism sector with the help of its technologies to protect cultural heritage. Yılmaz added that the project’s originality came to the fore with the creation of special personalized themes in cultural venues.
Prof. Hasan Mandal, President of TÜBİTAK, listed the major technological innovations to address the complex needs of dynamic societies for sustainable development and stressed that the project will have a global impact on the use of mobile and other innovative communication technologies for cultural collaboration among societies by way of the pioneering vision of Turkish and international academics and researchers. The project will use reiterative and collaborative innovation that perfectly matches today’s versatile societal development issues. He stated the importance of supporting the resilient infrastructure of the pandemic-weakened cultural and creative industries with the support of the project to form a sustainable cultural ecosystem in the future.
After the opening speeches, Bilkent University faculty member and project coordinator Dr. Eda Gürel introduced the project under the Horizon Europe Global Problems and Industrial Competition component. Dr. Gürel stated CULTURATI will build a global platform that enables artists, institutions and individuals to create and experience content on culture and arts. Utilizing state-of-the-art technologies involving cloud and mobile technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors and Artificial Intelligence, CULTURATI aims to enhance visitor experience by providing customized information, managing visitor flows on-site and ensuring social distancing at site-based CCIs in case of a pandemic.